If you’ve been to a concert in recent years, then you’ve probably just come to accept the fact that a sea of cellphone lights will accompany whatever show the artist puts on.
This article isn’t about debating whether or not you should put your damn phone away at a concert (you should), but it is about how one huge name is making sure he can perform in peace.
Look, the fact that comedian Dave Chappelle bans phones at his shows is pretty old news. You really don't have to comment that, unless you want to. It's a free country.
But, since he’s headlining the Bellco Theater on Thursday and Red Rocks on Saturday, it’s worth a reminder – and maybe an explanation before you show up at the venue blindsided by the fact you won’t get to Snapchat every moment of your experience.
Here’s the notice that Live Nation sent out about Chappelle’s no-cellphone policy on Tuesday. It’s pretty legit:
These are strict NO CELL PHONES ALLOWED shows. Fans are advised to leave phones in their cars or at home. Anyone who brings a cell phone will be required to place it in a locked Yondr pouch that will be unlocked at the end of the show. Guests maintain possession of their phones throughout the night, and if needed, may access their phones at designated Yondr unlocking stations. All patrons are subject to a pat down and wanding. Anyone found with an unlocked cell phone inside the venue will be immediately ejected.
Part of the reason why Chappelle wouldn’t want cellphones at shows is pretty obvious: lots of artists have come forward to say your need to constantly Instagram your experience is distracting/degrades from the fact they depend on you paying for their work.
But, he had another reason you wouldn’t think about.
Chappelle talked about the no cellphone policy with Jimmy Kimmel earlier this year.
“There’s a lot of reasons,” he said. “One, it became a thing where I’d walk on stage, I’d see a sea of cellphones, so I knew that anything in the room, I was saying to everybody, whether they were in the room or not, which is not an empowering feeling as a comedian.
“It’s like fight club rules apply: what I’m saying to you, I’m keeping to people in the room.
“The other thing is comedians need an element of surprise, so if someone sees a joke that I’m doing, then I’ve got to do whole new jokes that I couldn’t write fast enough.”
Kimmel went on to clarify that what’s essentially happening is that the possibility is act could be shown to the world prevents him from taking risks, since it goes from being an intimate performance to something that could live on YouTube forever.
Part of being an artist -- or doing anything that requires creativity -- is occasionally having the freedom to figure out what doesn't work. The possibility of getting shamed on social media makes that very, very hard.
It’s a fair point, and probably one you don’t necessarily consider unless you’re an artist. Check out the full Jimmy Kimmel interview here: http://bit.ly/2uOFqHw (this should go without saying, but since it's a Dave Chappelle interview with Jimmy Kimmel, don't let your little kids watch this).
Artists like Alicia Keys and Louis C.K. have used the same system Chappelle does to ensure fans aren’t on their phones.
It’s called Yondr, and it’s basically a pouch that’s kept locked unless you’re in a designated area or leaving the venue. This means you can keep your phone in your possession instead of locking it away, but aren’t able to use it.
For the record, here's an Instagram video the author took at a concert. It's not very good -- and she hasn't watched it since. Maybe it's a good reminder to listen to Dave Chappelle and put your damn phone away:
A post shared by Allison Sylte (@asylte) on